Moving back to this century in my top 50 songs rundown, with “Farewell Transmission”, by Jason Molina’s Songs: Ohia from 2003’s outstanding country rock album “Magnolia Electric Co.”
The first primary moniker for the hugely prolific Jason Molina, Songs: Ohia recorded 6 albums between 1997 and 2002, before their fantastic seventh “Magnolia Electric Co.” in 2003. Marking a real departure from the earlier, sparser Songs: Ohia folky recordings, the Steve Albini produced “Magnolia Electric Co.” boasts a much richer, Neil Young influenced powerful country rock sound but with Molina’s remarkable, questing voice still very much to the fore. After the release of this transitional masterpiece, Molina changed the band’s name itself to Magnolia Electric Co. and released 4 more albums between 2005 and 2009, along with assorted rarities/singles etc. However, Jason Molina tragically passed away in March 2013 aged just 39, of drink abuse-related organ failure after an ultimately losing battle with alcoholism.
All the records subsequently released as Magnolia Electric Co. have much to commend them, but the magical “Magnolia Electric Co.” album is a clear stand out, especially first track “Farewell Transmission”, a real statement of intent opener. From its beguiling pedal slide intro, Crazy Horse-ish guitars, casually rolling drums, all topped off by Jason Molina’s soulfully laidback vocals, “Farewell Transmission” just builds and builds as a song, a wonderfully intense listening experience. I was really obsessed with this song and accompanying album when released (and still am, to a degree) so was desperate to see Jason Molina and co perform live, and first managed to do so at the ornate Bush Hall in 2005. I then fortunately caught Magnolia Electric Co. on a few other occasions, powerfully nonchalant when playing as a full band plus greatly elevated by Jason Molina’s unique, emotionally resonant voice; much missed indeed, RIP.
VIDEOS AND OTHER STUFF
- “Farewell Transmission” album audio on YouTube
- Other great Songs: Ohia songs that just missed out include: I’ve Been Riding With The Ghost, Almost Was Good Enough, John Henry Split My Heart, The Lioness
- “Farewell Transmission” is featured on my 379 to 50: 1 to 25 Spotify playlist
- Also featured on my 379: Indie So to Y Spotify playlist
- “The Dark Don’t Hide It” by Magnolia Electric Co. is featured on my 379: Soul & Country Spotify playlist
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